Thursday, September 5, 2002

Bismarck, ND - Karen Tyler, North Dakota's Securities Commissioner, today released a list of the Top 10 scams, risky investments or sales practice abuses that are being reported nationwide. New to the third annual list are unscrupulous brokers, conflicts of interest in analyst research, charitable gift annuities, and oil and natural gas scams.

Record-low interest rates and a bear market on Wall Street have created a bull market in fraud on Main Street, said Tyler. Con artists know investors are concerned about low interest rates on fixed investments and volatility in the stock market, so they pitch their scams as safe alternatives and promise high returns - an impossible combination.

The following list includes the Top 10 investment scams, ranked roughly in order of prevalence or seriousness:

  1. Unlicensed individuals, such as independent insurance agents, selling securities.
  2. Unscrupulous stockbrokers.
  3. Analyst research conflicts.
  4. Promissory notes.
  5. Prime bank investment schemes.
  6. Viatical/Life settlements.
  7. Affinity fraud.
  8. Charitable gift annuities.
  9. Oil and gas schemes.
  10. Equipment leasing.

Commissioner Tyler urged investors to:

  • Contact the North Dakota Securities Department to check the record of the seller and investments before investing;
  • Request written information about the investment from the solicitor; and
  • Use common sense. Low risk and high returns are an impossible combination and typically signal investment fraud.

To check out an investment or salesperson, contact the North Dakota Securities Department at 701-328-2910 or ND toll-free 1-800-297-5124.


For further information, contact:

Karen Tyler
North Dakota Securities Commissioner
North Dakota Securities Department
600 East Boulevard Avenue, 5th Floor
Bismarck, ND 58505-0510